MacPhee's Hit Caps Comeback to Win Regional

For the first time in the NCAA tournament Arizona State faced some adversity and trailed in a ballgame. The patient Sun Devils stayed calm and eventually that patience paid off. Zack MacPhee's two out, two run single in the sixth broke a 3-3 tie and gave the Devils the lead for good in an 8-3 win over Oral Roberts in front of 3,467 at Packard Stadium, advancing ASU to the Super Regionals.

Sloppy defense by the Devils allowed Oral Roberts (33-15) to jump out to an early 3-0 lead off of Seth Blair. Blair quickly got the first two outs in the top of the first but then issued a walk to Seth Furmanek. Drew Maggi then booted a ball hit by Michael Notaro to keep the inning alive. PJ Sequeria then reached on an infield single to load the bases and Johnny Roberts singled up the middle to put the Eagles up 1-0.

Colby Price made the error hurt even worse by lifting a double into right center that scored two more runs and Oral Roberts plated three unearned runs off of Blair in the first inning.

Freshman Drew Bowen got the start for the Golden Eagles and ASU couldn't get hits off of the right hander. Bowen had just one problem, he struggled to find the strike zone at times and it eventually cost him.

ASU (47-12) got one of the three runs back in the third inning, thanks to Bowen's wildness. Zack MacPhee was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and Drew Maggi followed by drawing a walk. Pac 10 Player of the Year Jason Kipnis then sacrificed the runners to second and third before Carlos Ramirez drew a walk to load the bases. Bowen then walked Kole Calhoun to force in a run and cut the ORU lead to 3-1, but Abe Ruiz hit into a double play to end the threat.

Bowen then settled in and worked 1-2-3 through the Devils in the fourth and fifth inning before the big sixth inning for ASU. Carlos Ramirez started the rally with a leadoff walk and Kole Calhoun followed with a single to right field. Pat Murphy then pinch hit Matt Newman for Ruiz and Newman drew a walk to load the bases with nobody out.

Bowen then walked in another run, with Johnny Ruettiger drawing the free pass that ended the freshman pitcher's day. Jameson Dunn took over on the mound and got Riccio Torrez to strike out for the first out. However, with Jared McDonald at the plate, Dunn threw a wild pitch that allowed Calhoun to score and tie the game at 3-3.

The wild pitch put the go ahead run at third base and another run at second with one away, but McDonald struck out swinging for the second out. That brought up Zack MacPhee who sent a single to left that broke the tie for good and brought in Newman and Ruettiger to put ASU up 5-3.

ASU added insurance runs in the 8th inning to seal their regional championship. Matt Newman led off with a walk and moved up to second on a sac bunt by Ruettiger. Riccio Torrez made it 6-3 with a single back up the middle to score Newman and then Jared McDonald blew the game open with an inside the park home run. Right fielder PJ Sequeira never saw the ball hit down the line by McDonald and that allowed the speedy third baseman to scamper all the way around the bases to make it 8-3.

In his first substantial playoff appearance, Seth Blair worked six innings and didn't allow an earned run to pick up his seventh win of the season. The sophomore settled in nicely and allowed just two hits after the first inning and struck out seven. Freshman Mitchell Lambson made his NCAA Tournament debut and was lights out, not allowing a base runner in his three innings of work and struck out four Eagles to earn his fourth save of the season.

Kole Calhoun finished his big regional with another RBI on Sunday and hit .545 with four RBIs and four runs scored for the weekend. The Most Outstanding Player of the Tempe Regional was given to Mike Leake, for his complete game effort on Saturday. It is the second time Leake has won the honor, also winning as a freshman in 2007. Calhoun, Johnny Ruettiger, Zack MacPhee and Jason Kipnis joined Leake on the Tempe Regional All-Tournament Team.

It will be the third straight trip to the Super Regional's for the Devils and ASU will now host their second straight Super Regional, with their opponent being the winner of Monday's game between Clemson and Oklahoma State. Clemson staved off elimination by defeating fourth seed Tennessee Tech and Oklahoma State on Sunday to force a decisive game with the Cowboys on Monday night.

Clemson is the top seed in the regional, while Oklahoma State is the third seed. The game will be played at 4PM Arizona time on Monday, with the winner heading to Tempe to start the best of three Super Regional on either Friday or Saturday.

2009 Tempe Regional All-Tournament Team

Mike Leake (MOP), RHP, Arizona State

Kole Calhoun, OF, Arizona State

Jason Kipnis, OF, Arizona State

Zach MacPhee, INF, Arizona State

Johnny Ruettiger, OF, Arizona State

Mark Serrano, RHP, Oral Roberts

Colby Price, INF, Oral Roberts

Michael Notaro, INF, Oral Roberts

Juan Martinez, INF, Oral Robert

Jason Patton, OF, Kent State

Adam Buschini, INF, Cal Poly

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